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How To Implement an SMS Ordering System

A text message ordering system offers a safer, faster, and more convenient way for customers to order from your restaurant or online store.

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We live in a world where all the products, dishes, and treats we want can be on our doorstep within hours. 

Now that delivery apps are mainstream, customers appreciate and expect a convenient and seamless ordering experience — and text-to-order systems tick both boxes.

Whether you operate a delivery-only service, a dine-in restaurant, or an e-commerce business, SMS ordering software can help you attract more customers and keep them coming back.

If you think that SMS ordering software is only for large chains with deep pockets, we’re here to tell you otherwise. It’s affordable and easy to implement, with our plans starting at $29/month.

Here are two ways you can implement a straightforward SMS ordering system, as well as how to get started.

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Benefits of Using SMS For Order And Delivery Notifications

I could go on and on about why texting is the best way to talk to your customers, but there are three major benefits of sending your order and delivery updates through SMS.

  1. It’s fast. Texting is an instant communication channel for both you and your customers. The data says that 90% of texts are read within three minutes, and they only take seconds for you to send (especially if you use templates), so customers get the information they need with no delay.
  2. It’s visible. Adding to the fast response times, texts come with a 98% open rate, and they don’t get lost in spam or junk inboxes like emails can. Think about how quickly you look at the notifications on your phone. Your customers will do the same, so SMS helps you cut through the noise to get important details to your contacts.
  3. It makes two-way conversations easy. Customers no longer need to wait on hold or expect an email back in 3-5 business days. With texting, you can send and receive messages to resolve customer service issues or answer questions within minutes.

1. Send Customers a Link to Place an Online Order

The simplest way to set up an SMS ordering system is to ask customers to text in a keyword to receive an automated message with a link to order online (a keyword is a word, phrase, or other combination of numbers and letters that allows people to receive an SMS from you).

Our new holiday merch set is here! Order by Friday for 20% off: [link]

If you don’t already use an online ordering solution, you can implement one like OrderStack. It integrates directly into your existing website and doesn’t take any commission on food and drink orders. 

For e-commerce, platforms like Shopify can fill this gap.

The next step is to promote your SMS ordering system by advertising your keyword in your restaurant or on your social media channels. Promotion is even more critical if you use text-to-order for takeout customers.

If you want customers to order by text, you can ask them to text in your keyword.

In the SimpleTexting platform, it only takes a few minutes to set up a keyword and an automated response. 

The first step is to create a keyword by selecting Keywords from the left-hand panel.

Next, click on the blue button labeled “New keyword.”

The keyword in the example below is “CURRYHOUSE,” and it’s what customers will text to your number to receive the online ordering link. 

You can update the automated confirmation message depending on whether you’re using it for dine-in customers, takeaway customers, or e-commerce customers. We recommend that you shorten any URLs with our URL shortener.

Today 8:25 AM
CURRYHOUSE
What are we having? Order online here: [link] If you have any questions, call us at 858-270-9200 or reply to this text.

You can then follow the steps in this article to text your customers when their food is ready and/or keep them informed of their order details and status. 

An added benefit here is that you collect phone numbers that you can market to in the future with promotions and specials to grow your business. Check out how Barn Bowl & Bistro uses text messages for real-time marketing.

💡This video explains how to set up a keyword in more detail.

2. Ask Customers to Text in Their Orders

You can also ask customers to text you their orders so you can input them into your Point of Sale (POS) system. 

You can even add texting functionality to your existing number so that you and your customers don’t have to learn a new one. In this case, calls go through as usual, and text messages go straight to the SimpleTexting platform.

Alternatively, all SimpleTexting accounts also come with a text-enabled local number if you’d rather use a separate number for your text messages.

Remember, you’ll want to start by letting customers know about your text-to-order system. You can do this by adding a Click-to-Text Button to your website with a call to action like “Order Now.” 

The best part is that when someone clicks the button, it opens their native messaging app with a prewritten message and your phone number pre-populated. (Here’s how to add a Click-to-Text button to your website.)

The prewritten message could–for example–request your menu or a specific product. You could then send people a link to a PDF. (Here’s an article that explains how to send a PDF via an SMS message.)

Once people know what they want, they can text their full order to your SimpleTexting inbox, and you can record it in your system.

Today 11:00 AM
Thanks for your interest in Cumin, find attached our menu [link]. Text us your order whenever you’ve made up your mind and we’ll get right on it.

Alternatively, you can advertise your SMS ordering system in your restaurant, on your menu, or on your website or social media.

It’s worth noting that the SimpleTexting inbox lets you prioritize conversations, make notes, and set up templates so that you never have to write the same message twice. 

The latter is handy for sending order updates and delivery process SMS notifications. If you’re dealing with a large volume of orders, you can also use it for customer service questions.

In this two-minute video, we cover the basics of how the inbox works:

How Do I Get Started With SMS Ordering Software?

The first step is to start your 14-day free trial today to see how simple texting your audience can be. 

We’re here seven days a week to answer questions and guide you to the right SMS strategy for your business.

Drew Wilkinson
Drew Wilkinson

Drew Wilkinson is the Head of Marketing at SimpleTexting. Drew has more than a decade of experience managing successful integrated marketing programs to build brands, raise awareness, and generate demand.

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